The cruelty of English professors

They’re monsters, I tell you. They team up with publishers and become real horrors. My colleague here at UMM, Josh Johnson, has written a book I’ve been looking forward to for a while, The Forever Sea, and I get the alert this morning that it has been automatically downloaded into my Kindle app. Today! 19 January! The first day of spring semester classes! So now it’s going to be sitting there, taunting me, and I’m not going to be able to get to it for a while.

Did he do this intentionally, knowing what our academic calendar looks like? Does DAW books routinely torment their academic clients with this kind of scheduling? Temptation is unkind.

The first book in a new environmental epic fantasy series set in a world where ships kept afloat by magical hearthfires sail an endless grass sea.

Hah. The first book in a series. We’ll get even — he’s going to have to write more books while holding down a teaching load!

Since I haven’t read it yet, you’ll have to get by with the testimonials of those who have.

“I can rarely remember being this excited for a debut novel. This was everything I wanted it to be. Wind-swept prairie seas, pirates, magic, and found families.” —Mary Robinette Kowal, Hugo, Nebula, and Locus Award-winning author of the Lady Astronaut series

“Richly imagined and beautifully written, with a highly original and very creepy magic system—The Forever Sea is wonderful.” —R. F. Kuang, Astounding Award-winning author of The Poppy War

“Loved The Forever Sea. Loved it. Sheer joy.” —Joanne Harris, internationally bestselling author of Chocolat

“A beautifully imagined dive into the unknown.” —G.V. Anderson, World Fantasy Award winning author of “Das Steingeschöpf”

“Beautifully lyrical and imaginative, Johnson’s debut sings a twisting tale of adventure full of diverse characters and a lush world ripe to fall in love with. With a heart that will haunt you, this ecopunk story is unlike any you’ve seen before.” —Linden A. Lewis, author of The First Sister

“Lush descriptions of plant life abound… When combined with the exceptional protagonist and themes of embracing the unknown, [The Forever Sea] calls to mind Ursula K. Le Guin’s Earthsea series. With a good balance of grit and tenderness, this entertaining story makes a nice addition to the growing hopepunk subgenre.” —Publishers Weekly

“Hopepunk”? Is that a thing now?


  1. Bruce Fuentes says

    Nope, nope. Resisting temptation. I buy these fantasy books and then I wait years for the next book. The last time I bought a fantasy book written by an English professor there was never a final book. Patrick Rothfuss had a fanatastic debut in The Name of the Wind and the sequel A Wise Man’s Fear was equally wonderful. The problem is the final book never came out. We have been waiting since 2011. I doubt I will even read it if it does because I would need to reread the others again.
    Maybe just this one time I will buy the first book of a trilogy again.

  2. davidc1 says

    So it’s a Discworld type book with extra pirates ?Since that rat bastard Pratchett did dun do die on us ,been on the
    look out for someone to replace him ,an impossible task .A couple of authors come pretty close ,Toby Frost ,and his Space Captain Smith series .
    And Jasper Fforde and his Tuesday Next novels ,which has cloned Dodo’s which is a plus .

  3. blf says

    The mildly deranged penguin offers a range of adjusted, as well as custom, calendars. Need a few extra days in a week? No problem — including extended weekends, holidays, fewer Mondays or extra Fridays, in the order of your choice (the traditional SuMoTuWeThFrSa is so boring, try a SaSaSaFrWeSaSaXyWhOoPiEe model, for instance). Similar adjustments can be made to months, hours per day, and direction of the Sun’s apparent travel across the sky (loop-the-loop is popular, albeit flight sickness bags are suggested). One may find a prebuilt, and can very probably design your own, calendar so that, e.g., all of 2020 repeats on a daily basis, or every day is Yellow Pig Day, or the book you wanted to read is available at the start of a long paid vacation. Prices upon application.

  4. Bruce Fuentes says

    Ok. Bought it. One, because it looks like it could be quite good. Two, to support a new author. He better not wait 5 years to release the next one.

  5. brightmoon says

    Windwagon Smith in a descent fantasy novel . I could get behind that . You guys need to keep up with more folktales than just biblical ones

  6. doctorcorey says

    I wish words came easier for me when I try to write. I wish I had more time to write. :)

  7. James Fehlinger says

    Hah. The first book in a series. We’ll get even — he’s going to have
    to write more books while holding down a teaching load!

    Just like J. R. R. Tolkien. ;->

    Denys Gueroult of the BBC interviewed Tolkien (on January 20, 1965;
    though it wasn’t actually broadcast until December 16, 1970):

    During the course of the interview, Tolkien mentions the
    not-altogether-friendly reactions of his professional colleagues
    after the publication of The Lord of the Rings :

    G: Do you feel any sense of guilt at all that, as a philologist, as a
    professor of English language, with which you were concerned
    with the factual sources of language, you devoted a large part of
    your life to a fictional thing?

    T: No, no, I should’ve thought it’s done language a lot of good, yes.
    No, I’ve… why… No, no, there’s quite a lot of linguistic
    wisdom in it. I don’t feel any guilt complex about The Lord of
    the Rings
    , though many people have said, “Now we know what you’ve
    wasted, wasted the last fourteen years upon. You can now
    get on and complete some of the professional tasks which you’ve
    neglected.” And so, initially after I retired I was more busy, working

    at my proper things, than I’d been for a long while. Yes.

  8. cafebabe says

    @ #13
    An apocryphal story about Tolkien had him informing his literary circle that he was working on another book the storyline of which he then summarized. His audience immediately shouted in unison “No more fucking elves!”